The days are spinning busy and threaten to spin right on out of control this last week of Advent.
I started the month feeling so well organized, so on top of it all.
Good grief, I even wrote a blog post on how-to to have a peaceful holiday!
Pride goes before a fall, you know.
Much like a move with all of the boxes neatly packed and labeled,
it's those last minute odds and ends strewn here and there all over that threaten to sink your boat.
I could feel the panic of the water seeping in around my ankles this week,
it seemed as though I had a thousand last minute odds and ends to get done.
I was the mama, the pastor's wife that could do it all when I was younger.
With our three little girls in tow I'd direct the church's children's musical with full staging and costumes,
I'd have all the church leadership over to our home for a sit down dinner,
I'd decorate and I'd bake.
I was either crazy or I was super woman.
I can't for the life of me figure out how I did it.
Now, if life gets too busy and full, I feel anxious and a bit panic-y.
Maybe it's because the older I get, the more contemplative I've become.
Sitting down to process things, to write, feels like a necessity.
A day without the margin to do so feels like too much.
To handle it all, I try to do the four things that keep me sane.
I take time for my daily quiet time with God.
I've been reading the Advent devotionals and scriptures with She Reads Truth,
the Advent readings in Ann Voskamp's The Greatest Gift,
and the devotional and scriptures in Jesus Calling.
When I read and pray I ask God for divine help for that day's to-do list.
Next, I actually write down that days to-dos.
Sometimes, in the writing, what seemed impossible to get done, actually looks manageable.
And there's nothing like the joy of crossing the items off, one by one.
Going on my daily run is also important to me.
The running not only burns off a few of the holiday calories,
it burns off some of the stress and anxiety too.
Worship music or even some snappy holiday tunes playing through my earphones helps too.
Lastly, I try to remember what is really important to me.
I spent hours this week hand writing Christmas Cards to our church family
and to our personal friends and family.
As fewer and fewer people seem to be sending out cards,
I wonder if this is an expendable,
yet as I sit and write to each person I can't help but feel that the love and prayer
that goes into doing so is somehow important.
Then there's the annual cookie decorating and pretzel dipping that we do with the grandkids.
It's a wild and crazy and oh, so messy evening that requires mopping the floor and wiping down every household surface beneath the five foot level afterwards, but the memories are priceless.
We also took an evening this week to go look at Christmas lights with the grandkids.
Will the world end if my to-do list still has items undone while I'm looking at Christmas lights and sipping hot chocolate afterwards with my grand babies?
I don't think so.
Then there's the writing...
here I am with several things on my to-do list that must be done today and yet I'm here writing,
because somehow in putting what's going on in my mind and heart into words there is healing and joy and hope.
And there's also a knowing that someone out there reading these words will say,
"I know just how you feel!" or "What you said encouraged me!"
and somehow, for some reason, that's important to me.
In six days Christmas will come whether or not I was perfectly prepared for our church's big Christmas celebration this Sunday,
whether or not all the Christmas goodies got baked,
whether or not I remembered to buy all the ingredients for the green bean casserole.
And in typing these words, I've encouraged myself.
JOY TO THE WORLD,
THE LORD HAS COME!
Somehow, those words make my busy-ness with things seem rather ridiculous
and what really matters comes back into focus.
It's all about Jesus.
JOY to your little part of the world and to mine.